Israeli Soldiers Continue To Use Children As Human Shields
By Palestine Monitor
14 May, 2010
Child organisation DCI-Palestine has documented two new cases of children used as human shields by Israeli soldiers during military operations.
In the old city of Nablus, while searching her house, Dua’a (16) was ordered by Israeli troops to open closets and lift beds, while the soldiers remained metres away: "They moved three metres backward towards the door while aiming their weapons at me… They ordered me to search the closets and other items in the room."
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Sabri (14) was forced to walk in front of Israeli soldiers while stones were being hurled at them, during protests on the Palestinian Prisoner’s Day: "They were hiding behind me so I could cover them from the stones. They were shouting and saying in Hebrew 'Throw! Throw!’ to the young men who were throwing stones." According to an article published by Maan News Agency, the Israeli army said it would investigate the allegations.
Read the full story: http://www.dci-pal.org/english/doc/
Recently, however, an investigation against two soldiers who used a 9-year-old boy as a human shield during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza led to the soldiers being charged with exceeding their authority and behavior unbecoming a soldier. These charges are far too lenient and do not reflect the gravity of the violation.
DCI-Palestine strongly believes these types of trials are a facade, which only seek to give the appearance that investigations into war crimes are being carried out in compliance with the recommendations of the Goldstone report. However, such inappropriate charges do not lead to achieve accountability, but merely serve to perpetrate the climate of impunity over crimes committed against Palestinian children. DCI-Palestine hopes the new investigation into the use of Sabri as a human shield leads to charges that fit the magnitude of the violation.
The use of civilians, especially children, as human shields is clearly prohibited by applicable international law and by Israel’s domestic legislation. Israel is party to the CRC Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, which it ratified in 2005, the same year the Israeli High Court of Justice banned the use of civilians as human shields. Yet violations of the Protocol and the High Court ruling continue seemingly unchecked, as Israel’ Supreme Court is clearly unable or unwilling to enforce its own ruling, and the Israeli government refuses to implement the Protocol in the OPT.
On 19 January this year, Israel’s implementation of the Optional Protocol was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which issued strong recommendations to Israel on the ongoing practice of using Palestinian children as human shields. DCI reported to the UN on this issue ahead of Israel’s review, and we support their recommendation. We believe that those soldiers who knowingly violate the law in order to protect themselves from perceived danger with total disregard for the safety and well-being of children should be "duly prosecuted and sanctioned with appropriate penalties."